A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this album's good points outweigh the bad. Skip tracks 3 and 12, "White Flag" and "Sweepstakes," because those are the songs that include bad language. Other than that, the songs are pretty clean and take a novel approach to tackling tough social topics. Kids might see the negative aspects of eating junk food and over-consuming, and find some interesting insight into the environmental movement here.
What's the story?
Garbage in the sand -- that's said to be Gorillaz's co-creator Damon Albam's inspiration for the band's third studio album, PLASTIC BEACH. Albam took the concept further by reportedly researching landfills and ecosystems to come to a realization that nature is adapting in a unique way to the effects that most see as exclusively detrimental. But this isn't a science journal article, and there's definitely plenty of music to be had on the album as well. Gorillaz is known for their guest contributors, and this CD does not disappoint, with Snoop Dogg, Lou Reed, and Mos Def to name a few lending their talents to the release.
Is it any good?
Despite being a virtual band, Gorillaz consistently prove that they can make real music that doesn't hide behind techno tricks. Credit should go to the band for digging deep into social issues and staying optimistic without necessarily being patronizing or cliche. Some of the lyrics might leave you scratching your head ("We left the taps running, for a hundred years, so drink into the drink, a plastic cup of drink") but others shine with modern precision ("Your love's like rhinestones falling from the sky, that's electric, with future pixels in factories far away, here we go again, that's electric"). Although 2 songs are iffy, the rest are OK for teens, and may give them food for thought.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the environment and our culture. How does being connected to the Internet help fuel environmental causes, and how does our digital culture disconnect us from nature? What do you think about this band's concept that the two different worlds will somehow merge peacefully? Are you optimistic that the environment will be preserved for future generations?
What do you think about this "virtual band's" popularity? What do you think it means to the music industry to have a band so successful that doesn't rely on flashy images and sex appeal, but rather disguises itself behind fictional cartoon characters? Do you think because of the sales of this album that there will be more virtual bands "logging on" to the charts?
Families can talk about investigating albums for inappropriate content. Can your family come to a compromise if there are one or two songs on an LP that are inappropriate, but the majority of the album is okay? Does buying digital singles make it easier to pick and choose which songs are acceptable?
For kids who love rock and hip-hop
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.